Reporting accidents and incidents at work is an important aspect of safety in the workplace. It’s only when accidents are reported and documented that an organisation can analyse how the accident happened and the frequency with which similar accidents have occurred over time. Accordingly, appropriate measures can be put in place to minimise the risks to workers and improve workplace safety.
From an employee’s perspective, reporting accidents and incidents at work can help increase the odds of getting compensated for their injuries if the accident was caused due to negligence.
Generally, when an accident at work does happen, confusion ensues as nobody is quite sure about what to do next. Not following the proper workplace accident protocol can jeopardise your chances of filing a successful personal injury claim. Even if you are entitled to compensation, you may not get any simply because the accident was not reported.
Understanding the correct procedure for reporting accidents and incidents at work can help you make the right decisions in any eventuality.
Understanding The Law On Reporting Accidents And Incidents At Work
The Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulations 2013 (RIDDOR) requires that all workplace accidents are reported to the relevant enforcing authority. Workplaces can be diverse, ranging from offices and manufacturing plants to offshore installations, mines, and marine workplaces located in UK territorial waters. The management of each type of workplace must know who they are required to report to in the event of an accident.
Types Of Accidents That Must Be Reported To The Authorities Under RIDDOR
Under RIDDOR, a workplace accident is defined as any incident that occurs in the workplace unexpectedly and results in an injury, ill health, or death. Any incident that meets this definition must be reported.
- Fractures, amputations, burn injuries, and head, spine, or brain injuries.
- Hypothermia or heat-induced injuries.
- Exposure to hazardous substances.
- Vision or hearing impairment.
- Back injuries from carrying heavy items without the proper equipment.
- Workplace violence if the victim suffers injuries that keep them away from work for over seven days, if the victim is mentally traumatized, or if the victim dies.
- Electrical accidents including electric shock at work, fire, explosion, implosion, or electrocution.
- Falls from height.
- Cancer caused by occupational exposure to a known mutagen or carcinogenic substance.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome or hand-arm vibration syndrome caused by regular use of vibration or percussive tools.
- Occupational asthma caused by regular or significant exposure to a substance known to be a respiratory sensitiser.
- Workplace accident.
A report must also be filed if any members of the public or visitors to the workplace are accidentally injured on site.
What A Workplace Accident Report Should Include
An accident report should contain all of these details:
- The type of accident that occurred
- Identification of the person or persons injured with details regarding name, date of birth, and position held
- Date, time, and place that the accident occurred
- Type and severity of injuries sustained
- Circumstances under which the accident occurred, with photographs supporting the incident
- The report as filed in the accident book
- Details about the faulty equipment or machinery that caused the accident
- If similar accidents have happened before and what precautionary measures were put in place following the earlier incident
- Any legal breaches that may have been involved
- Whether the accident occurred while any unauthorised activity was being carried out
- Witnesses and witness statements
- Cost implications
Only responsible persons (employer, managers/supervisors, self-employed workers) should file an accident and incident at work report under RIDDOR. However, it is in a worker’s best interest to ensure that the report is filed and that the submitted report is correct. If the report is not filled correctly, it could compromise your compensation claim. Your claim could either get thrown out on a technicality or you may not receive the full settlement due to you.
Internal Accident & Incident Reporting Procedures Are Equally Important
In addition to reporting workplace accidents and incidents to the authorities, every workplace should also have its own internal reporting procedure. This ensures that all accidents are logged and recorded in one place for insurance and legal purposes.
All employers have a legal duty of care to protect their workers’ health and safety in the workplace. Establishing proper accident reporting procedures is an integral part of this duty of care.
Most workplaces have an accident book or some sort of record form that employees can fill out in the event of any adverse incident on the work floor. Adverse incidents may include anything from slips, trips, and falls to faulty equipment, falls from height, large machinery accidents, or workplace violence.
If you are injured in an accident while at work, you should follow the established procedures and create a proper record. This can be of great help if you pursue an accident claim. The report should include details about:
- Date and time that the accident occurred
- Nature of the accident
- Events leading up to the accident
- Names of all employees or visitors injured in the accident
- Whether or not any safety measures were in place when the accident happened
In addition, it’s advisable to also get photographs of the accident scene and your injuries. Photographs can provide irrefutable evidence and will lend weight to your claim.
If any work colleagues or visitors witnessed the accident, ask for their contact details so you can get witness statements supporting your claim.
Last But Not Least – Contact A Personal Injury Solicitor
Reporting accidents and incidents at work to the proper authorities and in the workplace accident book is only the first step. It only establishes that an accident occurred. However, you don’t get any benefits from this report unless you take it further and contact a personal injury solicitor to determine your legal rights.
If you’d like advice from a personal injury solicitor following the reporting of an accident or incident at work, contact us today on 0800 6524 881 for a free consultation.